FBI reveals chilling death threats to Nelson Mandela during 1990 US visit

Chilling warnings on US visit included one that said: 'Remember Kennedy in Dallas?'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 June, 2014, 5:45am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 June, 2014, 5:45am


The FBI investigated death threats against Nelson Mandela during his 1990 visit to the United States and relied on an informant for details about the anti-apartheid leader's trip, according to newly released documents.

The FBI released hundreds of pages of records tied to the visit of Mandela, which came months after he was released from a 27-year prison sentence in South Africa and four years before he became president.

One death threat came in a handwritten note that says, in part, "Remember John F. Kennedy in Dallas???"

One threatening caller said he was from the Aryan Knights and that there were two bombs along a New York parade route, another warned of a "hit squad" and a threat was also phoned into a Georgia university where Mandela was scheduled to address a rally, the documents revealed.

"The caller stated that he and his two companions had spent their lives trying to stop Mandela," reads a memo about a threat received by the Georgia Institute of Technology.

"He stated that they had various weapons and means with which to accomplish this task and had received military training." The call was not traced and no further information about it was available, the memo states.

The FBI paid close attention to Mandela's movements in the US A memo from the FBI's Atlanta field office reveals that on May 30, 1990, an unidentified source - "who is newly opened, and whose reliability is not yet established" - provided detailed information on Mandela's itinerary, including a scheduled wreath-laying ceremony in honour of Martin Luther King Jnr, a US$1,000-per-plate lunch, and a request from Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader, for a private meeting.

Mandela, who became South Africa's first black president after the end of apartheid in 1994, died in December aged 95.

Jailed under racist rule, he played a critical role after his release in moving the country out of the apartheid era and into a multiracial democracy.